the (not so) distant past

Before this blog, I wrote more frequently to myself. I think it’s called something like a ‘journal’ or ‘humility,’ or something like that. Feeling ill this morning, I found myself accidentally going through some of my old Microsoft word documents. I stumbled upon this. Having attended (but not yet participated in…yet) Physics graduation last night made me realize what a long last few years it really has been, and how I really had no idea what was coming at me as I sat at my dorm room desk and typed the following protoblog post out.

I give you, myself at eighteen, still heavily under the influence of dead, white, male authors and trying, perhaps against my better judgement, to sound like them. Also, this was written before Physics took over my life and Swedish took over my command of English spelling and grammar. Please, enjoy, and laugh if you have to. Why not reach back in time and reclaim some of your own freshman year wonder?

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“Berkeley will change your life,” the orientation leader said to a group of us, wide eyed freshmen, before this whole thing began.

I have not yet discovered that Berkeley has changed my life, but rather fulfilled it in a way that is difficult to explain.

I always despised it when, in high school, teachers would held information because it was too advanced; they would only give us a cursory understanding, or tell us to blindly memorize some fact. Here, nothing is held back. If you want to know something, you can. I want to be able to look at something not only understand what it is, but why it is there and how it came to exist. That is what is taught here: The meaning behind the derived knowledge. Intelligence here is real.

I am doing what I have all my life longed to do: seeking ideas without restraint, learning not only literal languages, but also the language of literature, the language of thought, and the language of scientific discourse. The assumption of knowledge is learning how to speak all of these dialects in one’s own, clear, infallible voice. Only by obtaining this understanding can one satisfy the creative desire of discovery that exists only at the crossroads of Art and Science. And for me, for now that crossroads is Campanile way.

I believe that few people truly are my peers in these exact sentiments; the important thing is that I know that I now have peers. For without them, without us (as I can now include myself), the sacred air of this place would cease to exist.

I think that is why I am now so supremely joyful in my own reserved way: I am now part of something that is bigger than myself. I know I always have been, but now it is tangible. I can breathe it in through my lungs, feel it on the ends of my fingers, and voice it on the tip of my tongue.

But I am loath to remember that the world away from here still exists, as always it will. Borrowing from Matthew Arnold, “there is really neither love nor light nor help for pain, and here we all are on a darkling plain, where ignorant armies clash by night.” Deaf to this clashing, I promise to never be, even when all I seem to hear is the overcoming roar of the world opening up at my feet.

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